Battle Lines Drawn Over Zim's Constitution Draft:Ncube

Zanu (PF) has scrapped provisions on devolution of power and restored the President’s powers in its proposed amendments to the draft constitution. President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday handed the Zanu PF’s proposed alternative draft constitution to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Industry minister Welshman Ncube.

In a hard-hitting statement on Wednesday Ncube said Zanu (PF) militaristic hardliners wanted to maintain the present status quo, which give President Robert Mugabe an advantage over his opponents ahead of fresh polls.

Ncube said he was shocked by the “disrespect, contempt, insult and audacity exhibited by the amendments.”

“I have studied the amendments Zanu (PF) has made to the draft and I am astonished at the sheer scale of disrespect, contempt, insult and audacity exhibited by the amendments, he said.

“There are only three possible interpretations of it, namely that Zanu (PF) thinks we are so desperate for a new constitution that we will cling to a serpent or that we are stupid or that their strategy is to make such preposterous amendments that no sane party will accept so as to collapse the whole process with a view to maintaining the status quo,” he said.

“In many respects, their amendments make the draft worse than the current constitution so that we would be better off with the current constitution. Even at our most foolish, there is no way we could ever accept those amendments. Anyone who does so would be committing political suicide. In fact, the draft is not just an insult on us but is also a mockery of the people who took time to make representations to COPAC.”

Ncube said it was clear that the Zanu (PF) hawks were itching for an early election.

“And this move they have made has brought them very close to their wish to burn down the country by having a rerun of the 2008 elections,” he said.

He added that it was his believe that the moderate elements in Zanu (PF) have allowed the move to tinker with the COPAC draft in the “mistaken belief that the MDC formations are so fearful of an election without reforms that we would accept not only to be insulted but also a constitution which is the worst we could possibly have”.

“It’s not going to happen. It’s time to let the dice roll the way it will. If an election without a new constitution is the only way to move forward, then let it be. On our part we are not going to betray the people’s struggle for a democratic constitution. We will not yield an inch. We will provide the leadership required for the people to take up the struggle at the elections. The battle lines are truly drawn,” he said.

At the last Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Maputo, Mozambique, regional leaders urged the GPA principals to expedite the constitution-making process by dealing with the contentious issues in the draft.